Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
The PennEast Pipeline will be 114 miles of 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline that will run from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ–running through the DRBC’s “territory.” The DRBC has contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – the only agency empowered to approve or not approve the project–declaring DRBC’s interest in being part of the process to approve it.
How convenient that the DRBC is in bed with the virulent anti-drilling Delaware Riverkeeper – and the main focus of Riverkeeper right now is to stop the Penn East…
Citing concerns about adverse effects on the Delaware watershed, the Delaware River Basin Commission says the proposed PennEast pipeline is subject to a commission review and public hearing.
The commission, which oversees the watershed, is requesting a joint meeting and public hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency tasked with ultimately approving the project.
The natural gas pipeline will require both the withdrawal and discharge of a substantial quantity of water for hydrostatic testing, says an April 23 letter the DRBC sent to federal commission.
The testing involves filling the pipe with pressurized water, which may be dyed, to help detect any leaks before the pipeline is buried in the ground and hooked up for service.
Depending upon the water sources and discharge locations, the project may entail the diversion of a large quantity of water into or out of the basin, the letter says.
DRBC’s process includes a review of the portion of pipeline within the basin, the development of a “draft docket” (DRBC’s version of a permit) that may contain conditions of approval, and will include an opportunity for public comment on the draft docket in writing or at a public hearing, explained Clarke Rupert, communications manager for the DRBC.
He was unsure how much time the public might have to comment, and how long it could take for the commission to render a decision, but said it’s not the DRBC’s intention to delay the project.
FERC is ultimately responsible for approving the pipeline project, but Rupert pointed out the DRBC is a federal interstate agency tasked specifically with managing the water resources of the Delaware watershed.
“FERC will be looking at other environmental impacts that aren’t just related to water. We have our own set of rules and regulations that need to be adhered to,” he said.
A joint meeting has yet to be set up between the two agencies.
The DRBC claims they have a seat at the table and that PennEast will need their permission before building the pipeline:
“We’ve informed PennEast, based on what we know, they need to come to DRBC to file an application, and for us to review that application to make sure it meets all our rules and regulations,” Rupert said.
Is the DRBC’s new director, who replaced the anti-drilling Carol Collier, turning out to be a disappointment like his predecessor?
DRBC Executive Director Steven J. Tambini, however, advised PennEast that the commission’s review will not be abbreviated to accommodate PennEast’s desired project schedule.
Kind of a slap across the face of PennEast, no?
If FERC allows the DRBC to assume some of the authority over the permitting for this project, something the law says resides solely with FERC, it’s a very slippery slope indeed.
Editor’s Note: We’re not as negative on Tambini as Jim is, but this is a VERY troubling development precisely because it caves to the position of the Delaware Riverkeeper, which has repeatedly sued the agency while having the inside track all the time. It’s represented on an incredible five of the six committees of the DRBC, in fact, despite the lawsuits and the fact Maya has disrupted its meetings and thumbed her nose at the agency. Moreover, if Carol Collier had her way, the Delaware Riverkeeper would have been on six committees!
It’s deeply disturbing that the DRBC has picked up the baton for this deceitful exercise by the Riverkeeper. What it demonstrates is that Maya’s intimidation tactics ultimately work very well. Using the excuse about the amount of water that might be involved in testing is an insult to the intelligence of anyone with the slightest knowledge of the DRBC mission and, more than anything, shows how completely cowed the DRBC is by the Riverkeeper’s dirty tricks, which are funded by the William Penn Foundation.
It’s utter nonsense to think this pipeline, which has enormous economic benefits to New Jersey in particular, but also Pennsylvania, will negatively impact the Delaware River. How do I know? Well, I took one of these pictures a couple of weeks ago when I was down that way and the second is a Google Earth street view. This is the Transco Pipeline that crosses the Delaware River just a mile or so up river from the DRBC headquarters.
If we pivoted to the right in this photo we’d see nice homes to both the left and right. Oh, the destruction! The impact on the Delaware River! The ruins of the watershed! What total nonsense, all for the sake of try to appease a bunch of radical special interests who cannot be appeased. But, of course, the DRBC has taken money from the William Penn Foundation itself, so those gods must be appeased. What a crock.